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Wednesday April 23, 2014
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Burton Hoey vs. Everyone



Leo and Frances Hoey raised their large family in one of the loveliest homes in Dexter: an eleven-room, Greek-revival-style mansion built in 1834 on the hill above the market (see sidebar). Burton helped run the lumberyard, which was later sold, worked as a builder, and farmed the family's land. His first wife, Darlene, the mother of their daughter, Jennifer Ann, died at a young age, and a second marriage ended in a drawn-out divorce.

A Community Observer article about Jenny's five years ago focused on complaints about the treatment of animals but also noted that Hoey had been sued more than 125 times. Among others, the article noted, he had been sued for unpaid debts "by lumber yards, by well drillers, by several banks, and for stealing gas at a rental property he owned."

In an irate phone call to the Observer's editor after that article came out, Hoey blamed his financial problems on his divorce: "The divorce took eight years," he said. "They froze my assets for eight years. I couldn't pay my bills."

Hoey remembers starting the market in the early eighties as a roadside stand for the family farm's produce. He says his daughter Jenny took it over in the early 1990s to help pay for her schooling at Western Michigan University. "She married someone from over there and stayed there," Hoey explains. "She has two kids. She doesn't work. She's a good woman."

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